Aesthetics of Everywhere

The urban scene, its people and processes. Based in DC.

Everyday Lessons Learned: August 2011, Week 3

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'Kelp Forest' by lar3 on Flickr

This list of things I’ve learned appears to have a food focus this week. Enjoy!

15: Hong Kong’s transit system, the Mass Transit Railway (MRT), makes a huge profit – over USD $1 billion per year. The daily ridership is almost 4 million. According to the Infrastructurist, this is because Hong Kong’s MTR also takes part in developing residences, offices, and retail in the immediate vicinities of its rail stations. Jaffe writes: “This side business generates a huge amount of revenue that can be recycled back into the system itself.” Thus resulting in more profits – a kind of recycling, of sorts!

16: In certain countries, upwards of 40% of an average household’s income is spent on food. Rising food prices have a much greater effect on well-being in poorer countries, where this is the case. See this infographic by Natalie Jones: How Much of Our Spending Goes Toward Food?

17: The documentary Thirst (2004) is a film about the global water supply and a look into the battles around the rights to water. In one of the main focal points of the documentary, the residents of Stockton, CA fight the privatization of their water by OMI/Thames Water. Since the documentary’s filming, there have been a number of updates as well.

18: The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is used as an economic indicator of inflation. It tracks the prices of certain common goods and services over time, helping to reach an estimated cost of living which is used to adjust salaries and wages.

19: Ceviche is a Central and South American dish made with fish and citrus juice. It’s served cold and is ‘cooked’ by the citrus. No heat is applied in the preparation of the dish: the proteins in the fish or seafood become denatured by the citric acid.

20: Lobsters can grow to 40 pounds or more in size because they hardly show signs of losing function as they age. Even very old lobsters have the equivalent appetite, sex drive, energy, and metabolism of a young lobster. The best indication of the age of a lobster is its size.

Also, eating lobster used to be a mark of poverty in colonial times:

“Prior to the 1880s, it was unusual to see lobster on menus at all except in bargain-priced lobster salad,” said Glenn Jones, of Texas A&M University, who led the research. “It was considered a trash fish — it was not something you’d want to be seen eating. In colonial America servants negotiated agreements that they would not be forced to eat lobster more than twice a week.”(‘How lobster went up in the world’)

21: Less a “self-driving car” and more a “self-driving shuttle”, these futuristic ULTra pods in Heathrow airport may be headed to other locations, including Tysons Corner, VA:

22: For a look into stem cell research, go see the documentary Mapping Stem Cell Research: Terra Incognita. I can’t articulate the arguments as well as they’re made by those in the film, but it’s worth watching. And it’s also available streaming on Netflix (I’ve been a bit ill so I’ve been watching more movies than usual).

Written by Crystal Bae

August 23rd, 2011 at 6:00 pm

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